Nigeria made a large financial commitment to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) totaling $1.177 billion over a period of 16 years, for which the House of Representatives has demanded an explanation.
The Inter-parliamentary Relations, Ecowas Parliament, and Foreign Affairs committees of the House were tasked with determining the reason.
This came after the PDP-Rivers representative Awaji-inombek Abiante’s motion of urgent public significance was approved during plenary on Thursday in Abuja.
The committees must also evaluate the advantages and contributions of ECOWAS to Nigeria’s and Nigerians’ socioeconomic progress over the last ten years.
Abiante, who proposed the motion, pointed out that the Treaty of Lagos, which formed ECOWAS on May 28, 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria, has as its primary objective encouraging economic cooperation among its member states.
He said that this was done to improve living conditions and encourage economic growth.
He claimed that the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the ECOWAS, a regional political and economic union of 15 nations, are located in Abuja.
The lawmaker said that in 16 years, Nigeria has paid more than $1.177 billion in community levy to ECOWAS, the biggest amount paid by any member state since the organization’s founding.
He said that Nigeria had made significant contributions to the ECOWAS, including the provision of power to member states, medical assistance, and peacekeeping operations within member states.
He listed several of them, including the Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and Liberia.
Abiante further pointed out that with the new regional prospective frame of reference for the next 30 years, ECOWAS “Vision 2050,” that ECOWAS must become a community of people.
He claimed that this was accomplished through emphasizing the development of the region’s infrastructure, integration, young people, and women.
If properly implemented, he claims, the ECOWAS “Vision 2050” would guarantee a secure, stable, and peaceful area.
The lawmaker voiced concern that despite Nigeria’s enormous financial contributions to ECOWAS, the nation and its people have not reaped significant benefits.
He claimed that an evaluation of ECOWAS’ contributions and advantages to Nigeria’s and Nigerians’ socioeconomic progress during the last ten years was necessary.